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One bollock at a time – Part 2



There are a million reasons to find the “HR Gurus” out there and shove a stone carved  Ulrich model up their arses.  At the top of the list has to be the idea of “Strategic HR Management”.  I am sick and tired of hearing the word strategy combined with HR.  I am sick and tired of receiving CVs which start, “….is a strategic HR generalist….”

What the fuck does it mean?  Can you strategically dismiss someone?  Can you strategically pay someone?  It is all a load of old bollocks.  If you mean, “think ahead” well then I should bloody well hope so.  If you mean, “understand how things fit with the business” then you should be sacked if you don’t.  They are just natural business skills that we should all have anyway.

There is of course the need to think about people implications in the context of the overall business strategy.  But that is part of the business strategy.  HR’s role is to make sure that the people implications are considered in the way that Marketing makes sure that the customer  implications are considered and finance make sure that the financial implications are considered.  It is integral.  It doesn’t sit separately within the HR department.

Instead, when we bang on about “strategic HR” what we are really saying is “take us seriously please, we can add value, we are helpful.  Can we have a seat at the big table….pretty please with a cherry on top?”  Frankly, anyone who goes around banging on about “strategic HR” doesn’t deserve a seat anywhere other than in some expensive conference or seminar full of other similarly stupid people being talked to by some “guru” who is laughing all the way to the bank at their expense.

This is the second bollock.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. RyanW permalink
    01/13/2010 15:38

    I largely agree with you on things. This, unfortunately, is not one of them. I do believe that companies who have HR involved at a strategic level, with F&A/R&D/Sales etc, do have an advantage over their competition with regard to their workforce. They are ahead of the curve on knowing about company direction shifts and can plan better for altering the skillset within the workforce. Additionally, there should be better potential to address key engagement and culture issues that are proven to lead to productivity gains by numerous surveys. Not to mention the benefits to branding. In tight industries, I absolutely think that strategic HR involvement enhances productivity, culture, and could be a key element in overcoming your competition.

    My irritation is that much of this lives in academia and very few companies take this to heart. However, I believe this is coming. Technology is helping HR get at useable information quickly, as well as removing administrative tasks. My opinion is that HR depts will reduce in heads, but increase in overall value. Those who remain in HR need to evolve and and get beyond the reactionary to the proactive in a way that they haven’t in the past.

  2. Corporate Daycare permalink
    01/13/2010 17:50

    HRD – Well said. HR is strategy.

  3. 01/14/2010 15:24

    @RyanW – All debate is good. The last thing I want is for people to always agree with me. I’m not saying that HR should not be strategic or engage in strategy. My argument is that it is integral and should not be a separate practice. We need to get to the stage where “Strategic HR” is a tauotlogy.

    @Corporate Daycare – Good HR is strategy.

  4. 01/14/2010 19:16

    A good whack upside the head, as they might say in the South.

    Thanks for not letting any of us slide into the namby-pamby, milquetoast illusion that HR is for the meek.

    I depend on you for this sort of bulldog, straight-from-the-shoulder post and you always deliver!

  5. 01/15/2010 15:05

    @mkeefer – Glad to be of assistance….us Brits and bulldogs…we go together quite nicely. Thanks for keeping on reading.


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